Our project will be present on this year's ICHSEA conference in Frankfurt, the most important international scholarly meeting in the field, which takes place every four years, with two "twin" panels organized by Dr. Cao Jin and Dr. Alexander Jost and named "Knowledge Transfer between Europe and Ming-Qing China - Science" and "Knowledge Transfer between Europe and Ming-Qing China - Technology". Members and associates of the project presenting at these panels are beside the organizers: Sabine Kink, Jonas Schmidt, Anna Strob and Han Qijin. With the support of our Sino-German Mobility Program it has become possible to invite a large number of participants from the P.R. China, which are Zhang Baichun, Zheng Cheng, Sun Chengsheng (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Shang Zhicong (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences), Gong Xu (University of Science and Technology of China), Thierry Meynard (Sun Yat-sen University) and Han Qi (Zhejiang University). Further presenters at the panels will be Shi Yunli (University of Science and Technology of China), Dominic Sachsenmaier (Göttingen University) and Angela Schottenhammer (KU Leuven). For the individual presentations see panels 13 and 14.
We are pleased to announce that the above mentioned project has been extended cost-neutrally by the German Research Foundation until fall of 2024. This will allow us to complete our translations of Adam Schall von Bell’s Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 1640) and Sabatino de Ursis’ Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612), as well as to finish the two monographs devoted to the history of these two Chinese treatises. In addition, for purposes of scholarly exchange, this will also give us enough time to invite to Tübingen for shorter periods of time foreign scholars who are experts in the history of the Jesuit China mission.
Alexander Jost has been awarded a travel grant to visit the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College for one week in October 2023. During his stay he will be given the opportunity to make use of the extensive library and source collection of the Ricci Institute, which was relocated from San Francisco to Boston in 2021. He will carry out work for his new project "China and the Polar Regions: Images and Perceptions in History" and will present his research especially on the Chinese encounter with European Geography and ideas of the Polar Regions in Jesuit maps and atlases. Thereafter, a visit to Yale University History Department and a joint activity with Prof. Valerie Hansen on a related topic is planned.
We are pleased to announce that a scholarship within the “Landesgraduiertenförderung” (LGFG) program has been granted to Han Qijin for her PhD project “The Art of Fugue: Translating the European Thermometer to China during the Kangxi Reign (1662-1722)”. By conducting a comparative and text-critical translation, contextualisation and analysis of two Jesuit treatises, Yanqi tushuo 驗氣圖說 (Illustrated Explanations of Verifying Qi; 1671) and Yanqi hanshubiao shuo 驗氣寒暑表說 (Explanations of the Cold-and-hot Meter [for Verifying Qi]; n.d.), this doctoral study strives to reconstruct the transmission and reception of the European thermometry during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722), and thus to further a better understanding of Sino-Western knowledge exchange in the era of early modern globalisation. This dissertation is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag, and is part of the DFG research project “Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: Convergences and Divergences in the Light of the Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 1640) and the Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612)” directed by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel.
We are happy to inform you that the three-year Sino-German Mobility Programme dealing with the “Transfer of Technical and Scientific Knowledge between Europe and China during the Early Modern Period” (近代早期中欧技术科学知识的转移) was extended until the end of 2023. The programme was initiated in 2020 by Prof. Hans Ulrich Vogel, Chinese History and Society, Department of Chinese Studies, Tübingen University, and Prof. Zhang Baichun 张柏春, Center for Comparative Studies, Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (IHNS), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and is generously supported with an amount of ca. 200.000 € by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGCRP, Chinesisch-Deutsches Zentrum für Wissenschaftsförderung, 中德科学中心), Beijing. This project envisages to create opportunities for senior and junior scholars of all ages working in these or closely related topics to travel either to China or Germany for exchanging information about the objectives and results of their research and engaging in an international dialogue. Due to the Covid crisis in the years 2020-2022, mobility activities unfortunately came to a standstill, but can be now resumed again. More details of the programme.
Asian Review of World Histories, founded in 2013, is the official journal of the Asian Association of World Historians (AAWH). This peer-reviewed journal publishes original research articles and book reviews to advance research, teaching, and public discussion on world historical studies in or for the Asian region. It seeks the participation of those who identify themselves as "global," "world," "transregional," "comparative," "international," and "big" historians, and all others with interest in a "connected" study of the past. The journal also acts as a forum for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary conversations and for the collaboration of historians with scholars in adjoining disciplines including and with global historical scholars in all parts of the world.
For more information, please refer to the journal website at Brill.
SHENG Jia 盛佳 completed her master thesis with the title "China’s First Acquaintance with the Galilean Telescope: An Annotated Translation of the Yuanjingshuo 遠鏡說 (1626)" in the summer of 2022. It serves as a source-critical and historically contextualized translation of the Yuanjingshuo 遠鏡說 (On the Farseeing Optic Glasses; 1626) (hereafter YJS), which was composed by the Jesuit Johann Adam Schall von Bell (1591-1666) together with his Chinese collaborator Li Zubai 李祖白 (?-1665). This treatise is known for its historical significance to systematically introduce for the first time in Chinese the Galilean telescope as well as relevant astronomical discoveries and optical theories. Throughout her translation, Mrs. Sheng adopts the approach of thick translation and raises such questions as "how should the YJS’s textual meaning and magnitude be understood in the historical context" and "what Western and Eastern knowledge and traditions are referred to in the text", answering them in annotations and footnotes with ample references to primary sources and research literature. Besides historical contextualization, her thesis also compares the different existing editions of the YJS, and analyses its influence and perception in late Ming China by examining its role in various historical events and accounts. In order to encourage further research on the history of the telescope in late imperial China as well as of early Sino-European scientific exchanges, the M.A. thesis ends with the conclusion that the composition of the YJS draws on a wide range of Western and Oriental works dealing with Aristotelian philosophy, Alhazen’s classical optical theories and Galileo’s contemporary telescopic discoveries, while at the same time making use of Chinese terminologies and ancient works for knowledge adaption and accommodation.
For the winter term 2022/23 Dr. Cao Jin received a teaching assignment at the History Department of Salzburg University, Austria. She is holding an introductory seminar entitled "The Jesuit Mission in China and Japan," in which she will also present findings from our project to students interested in the field.
We are pleased to announce that Anna Strob was granted a twelve-month extension of her PhD scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The generous grant will allow her to continue her research on the knowledge transmission between Europe and China in the early seventeenth century and to finalize her dissertation project that focuses on the translation of Aristotle’s natural philosophy to late Ming China. The main body of her doctoral thesis consists of an annotated translation and analysis of the Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Phenomena in the Atmosphere, c. 1633), a Chinese adaption of the Coimbra commentaries on Aristotle’s natural philosophy written by the Jesuit author Alfonso Vagnone. Her doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag.
Patrick Aberle completed his master thesis with the title “A Complete Translation of the Celiang fayi 測量法義 (1608): A Study of its Reception and an Analysis of its Key Terms'' on 30 July in 2021. It is the first translation into English of the work in its entirety. Besides an assessment of the reception of the Celiang fayi in China, Aberle analyses how the authors carried out the transmission of technical terms and methods. He points out that the major challenge in the knowledge-transfer project of Xu Guangqi 徐光啟 (1562-1633) and Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) lay in the paradigmatic differential between two distinct knowledge traditions. Thus, he raises the question of what exactly the paradigms were that Xu and the community of mathematical scholars in China on one hand and Ricci and the Jesuit community on the other were subjected to. Since it is in expressive mismatches that a divergence of conceptual themes is revealed, he approaches this question with an inquiry into the terms that were newly introduced in the Celiang fayi. Furthermore, in his analytical framework, he distinguishes three different categories of concept transmissions – neologisms, neoonoma and neosemantisms – in order to gain an understanding of the transmission and translation strategies of Xu and Ricci. Thus, his master thesis does not only provide an insight into the different mathematical concepts of two important knowledge traditions, but also serves as a case study for philological and translational inquiry.
The DFG granted Prof. Hans Ulrich Vogel, History and Society of China, Department of Chinese Studies (Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Faculty of Humanities), Tübingen University, a one-year extension of the above-mentioned project. The DFG support has started in summer 2018 and thus will continue until October 2022.
The immediate cause for starting this project was the sensational rediscovery in 2015 of the Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 5 chap., 244 pp., 1640; hereafter KYGZ), a Chinese mining treatise based largely on Georgius Agricola’s (1494-1555) De re metallica (1556). This partial translation, initiated by the Chinese official Li Tianjing 李天經 (1579-1659) and carried out by the Jesuit missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell (Tang Ruowang 湯若望; 1592-1666), was lost for more than 350 years. Involving one of the most significant protagonists and polymaths of the German Renaissance and the most influential China-bound German Jesuit missionary, this text is of extraordinary importance not only for the history of East-West relations, but also for German cultural history.
In addition, and for comparative reasons, we are investigating another important and largely neglected text, the Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 6 chap., 208 pp., preface 1612; hereafter TXSF). The TXSF, mainly composed by the Italian Jesuit missionary Sabatino de Ursis (Xiong Sanba 熊三拔; 1575-1620), contains a systematic discourse on both theoretical and practical aspects of water and water management as well as forays into the medical field. Topically this technological manual differs from the KYGZ by embedding the presented new techniques in a traditional everyday setting, while at the same time it shares commonalities with the KYGZ in the domains of water drainage and natural philosophy.
The targets of this project are systematic, comprehensive as well as paradigmatic. It comprises studies of (甲) the Western books transferred to China, (乙) their selective translation by the Jesuits and their Chinese collaborators, (丙) the terminological and conceptual strategies and choices adopted during such efforts, (丁) the reception and perception of the texts on the Chinese side as well as (戊) the political, social, economic, cultural and ideological backgrounds and intentions of the different historical actors. The final aim of these case studies is (己) to deal with issues of intercivilisational encounters, especially (庚) in the field of useful and reliable knowledge, during (辛) the early period of globalisation, and (壬) to carry out comparisons based on the macro-sociological theory of the “Four Ways of Worldmaking” (power, wealth, meaning, knowledge), thus (癸) arriving at novel conclusions with regard to relevant convergences and divergences between China and Europe as well as the occurrence of the Great Divergence.
Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros 白雅詩, Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Macau was named 2021 J. Worth Estes Prize winner at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), 14 May 2021. She was awarded for her work “Chocolate in China: Interweaving Cultural Histories of an Imperfectly Connected World,” published in Harold J. Cook (ed.), Translation at Work: Chinese Medicine at the First Global Age (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2020, pp. 58-107). Puente-Ballesteros, licentiate in medicine, magister in acupuncture and moxibustion, sinologist and PhD historian of science has immersed herself in the study of Eastern and Western languages and in the exploration of cross-cultural interactions and exchanges between Manchus, Mongolians, Chinese and Jesuits in the fields of medicine, surgery, anatomy and pharmacy during late imperial China. She is also Associated Researcher at Tübingen’s Department of Chinese Studies as well as Project and Translation Collaborator of the DFG Research Project “Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: Convergences and Divergences in the Light of the «Kunyu gezhi» 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 1640) and the «Taixi shuifa» 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612).”
In Chinese …
We are pleased to announce that the PhD scholarship of the Gerda Henkel foundation for Anna Strob has been officially extended for another year until March 2022. The generous grant of the foundation will allow her to finalize the work on the translation of the first volume of Alfonso Vagnone’s Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Phenomena in the Atmosphere, c. 1633). With the analysis of the Chinese text, she aims to offer an insight into the Jesuit’s attempt to translate Aristotle’s natural philosophy to late Ming thought and to examine the linguistic and conceptual challenges of this early transmission of European scientific tradition. Her doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag.
We are happy to inform you that Prof. Hans Ulrich Vogel, Chair for Chinese History and Society, Department of Chinese Studies, Tübingen University, and Prof. Zhang Baichun 张柏春, Center for Comparative Studies, Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (IHNS), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, have been generously granted an amount of ca. 200.000 € by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGCRP, Chinesisch-Deutsches Zentrum für Wissenschaftsförderung, 中德科学中心), Beijing . This three-year grant is destined for the establishment of a Sino-German Mobility Programme (2020-2022) dealing with the “Transfer of Technical and Scientific Knowledge between Europe and China during the Early Modern Period” (近代早期中欧技术科学知识的转移).
Anna Strob has been granted a two-year PhD scholarship by the Gerda Henkel Foundation for the period from April 2020 to March 2022. The generous support of the foundation will allow her to focus full-time on her PhD project "Translating Renaissance Science: Alfonso Vagnone’s Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Celestial Phenomena, c. 1633)." According to the present state of research, the Kongji gezhi can be considered one of the first comprehensive attempts to translate Aristotle’s natural philosophy into Chinese. This effort, undertaken as part of the Jesuit mission, coincided with a growing interest in natural sciences and technology in late Ming China. In her doctoral thesis Anna Strob examines linguistic and conceptual challenges of this multi-facetted cultural encounter. Her thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag and is part of the international project "Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: Convergences and Divergences in the Light of the Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 1640) and the Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612)" funded by the German Research Foundation and carried out at the University of Tübingen.
Li Yexin 刘烨昕, "A Symposium on the Transfer of Scientific and Technical Knowledge between Europe and China during the Early Modern Period Held at the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion", Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology 3 (1), 106-110 (2019). PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel and Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros, "Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: A New Project under the Auspices of SCEaR", Newsletter of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, Sub-Committee on Education and Research, December 2018: 10-12. PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel, "Rediscovery of a Manuscript: The Chinese Translation of Georgius Agricola‘s De re metallica", Newsletter of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, Sub-Committee on Education and Research, November 2016, 16-20. PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel, "Westliches Wissen in China: Ein neues Forschungsprojekt der Tübinger Sinologie befasst sich mit der chinesischen Übersetzung von Georgius Agricolas De re metallica von 1640", Damals, 48.5: 45-46 (Mai 2016). PDF